The Sullivan Legislature Adopts County Budget

MONTICELLO – By an 8-1 vote last Tuesday, legislators approved the 2022 Sullivan County Budget. District 8 Legislator Ira Steingart cast the dissenting vote.

“I am proud to say that even in the wake of the pandemic, Sullivan County is well on a path to keeping spending under control,” said Legislature Chairman Robert A. Doherty.

“This budget also gives us the ability to substantially reduce our overall debt, which can lead to lowering everyone’s tax burden.”

The $259,088,488 budget stays under the State-mandated property tax cap with a projected tax levy increase of 1.42%. Though the exact bill will vary by township, a typical house assessed at $100,000 should see an increase of around $17 in its County tax bill.

Highlights of the 2022 Budget include:
* $12 million for road and bridgework throughout the County, to be achieved without going into debt by bonding
* $9.2 million to pay off all short-term bonds, with an intent not to bond at all in 2022
* $4 million to cover all County costs associated with the Care Center at Sunset Lake, now under management by consultant Infinite Care
* $600,000 to continue and expand the Move Sullivan public transportation service
* $370,000 to restore two Assistant District Attorney positions cut during the pandemic and to add two Administrative Assistants to the DA’s Office to handle increased work volumes
* $300,000 for the Sullivan County Land Bank to demolish blighted buildings and restore funding cut during the pandemic
* $96,000 for the Center for Workforce Development to hire a Youth Intern Coordinator and study ways to close gaps in local youth services and resources
* $85,000 to create a Comprehensive Housing Strategy that will address every facet of housing in the County, particularly workforce housing and accommodations for the homeless
* $30,000 to purchase organics containers for a Pilot Residential Composting Program, the first step toward a larger initiative to provide residential and commercial composting services

The Adopted Budget also makes provision for a significant reconfiguration of the Division of Planning, which will take on the Office of Sustainable Energy, the Office of Grants Administration, and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Beautification. This will free up an expanded team of planners to focus on developing important projects like affordable housing and tourism infrastructure, including the O&W Rail Trail.

The County Clerk’s Office will be given further tools to address service demand, particularly in the Department of Motor Vehicles, which will see an additional clerk position, a new service window, and an expanded mobile presence.

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